St. John is home to Virgin Islands National Park in the Eastern Caribbean. The island sports one of the world’s top ten beaches and is only inhabited by 4,000 people. St. John is the perfect get-away for vacationers that want to get away from the crowds and enjoy their own small piece of paradise. Being on the Disney Fantasy, we booked one of their excursions on St. John to do an Eco Hike. The guided tour is outsourced to another company located on St. John. Most of the time it’s better to go ahead and book your tour online well in advance of your trip in order to assure you get a spot. Most of the time there is room for last minute bookers and there is a place on the ship where they can process that for you.
The morning of your excursion, in this case the Eco Hike at St. John – you will gather in a designated area where you are given instructions on where to go once the ship docks. In order to get to St. John, the ship will dock at St. Thomas and board a ferry to the island. Cruise liners will not dock at St. John. If you go on a Disney excursion, you don’t have to worry about ferry departure times because you are guided the entire way. If you decide to do your own thing, make sure you know when the ferries go and come.
We boarded the Island Girl Ferry and made our way to St. John. Once we docked, we met up with our tour guide. I’m not a huge fan of guided tours, but we did have a little down time to break apart from the group for an hour. The tour started out at the Lind Point trail head which is just beyond the Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center. I wore regular sneakers for the hike since I read that the trail was pretty easy to navigate. It probably is a good idea to wear something with a little more ankle support though. The trail is around 1.5 miles one way, is mostly shaded and it forks off in two directions, upper and lower. We took the lower fork of the trail that leads down to Honeymoon Beach where we were able to break away from the group for nearly an hour and enjoy the crystal clear water. Our tour group was very small, so we had our own chunk of beach to ourselves.
After taking some pictures and video, the group reassembled for the final leg of our Eco Hike to Caneel Bay to see the Caneel Bay Plantation. The part of the trail is basically a dirt path that the national park vehicles use and eventually connects to a paved road that goes down to the resort at Caneel Bay. The tour guide takes you down into the plantation where you can see the old remnants of the sugar mill.
The hike is pretty much over once you see the plantation mill and you connect with a shuttle to take you back to the boat dock to board the ferry again. Overall, the Eco Hike was a pretty cool excursion that didn’t seem terribly dumbed down or elementary. It was a good chance to hear about the history of the island and learn about the wildlife and plant life. The tour guide was very insightful and friendly, which made the tour pleasant. The price was a bit steep for what we experienced in my opinion, but overall it was fun hike and would recommend it.
As always be sure to check out the photos below and the episode segment from this part of our trip!